Tower Hamlets mayor warns against Thames sewer ventilation shaft

Town hall bosses have declared war on plans by Thames Water to build a 45ft sewer ventilation tower on the riverfront a mile east of Tower Bridge.

Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman has given his backing to families campaigning to prevent Shadwell’s King Edward Memorial Park being turned into a seven-year building site with the legacy of a permanent ventilation shaft towering above their homes.

Thames Water wants to lay a 17-mile-long ‘super sewer’ from Chelsea to Abbey Mills pumping station to relieve London’s ageing Victorian drainage system that regularly overflows into the river.

But the Mayor and Tower Hamlets Council reject the plans to take over Shadwell Park as ‘unacceptable’.

He has written to the utility company this week about the commitment to explore alternatives which it undertook during his meeting on March 28 with its chief executive Martin Baggs. A council resolution was passed unanimously in February to protect the park as the only green park space between Wapping to Limehouse.

The families who have been running an intensive campaign to find an alternative construction site for the Tideway tunnel lobbied City Hall last month and now have 5,000 signatures to their petition.

Campaign vice chair Emma Dunsire said: “Alternatives do exist. Thames Water says it is listening. It needs to do more than that—it needs to act.”

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They have also attracted support from celebrities including Dame Helen Mirren, Delia Smith, Anita Dobson, Lee Hurst, Steven Berkoff and Kenny Lynch.